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Is This How To Save European Agriculture? Bavarian Farm Girls Pose For Calendar

In both Germany and Austria, real-life female farmers pose for a pin-up calendar that has become an annual affair for the local farmer's association. It may not change the plight or perception of the agricultural lifestyle, as they aim to do, but

A group of Bavarian beauties show off the 2012 'farm girls' calendar (Bayerische Jungbauernschaft)
A group of Bavarian beauties show off the 2012 'farm girls' calendar (Bayerische Jungbauernschaft)
Franz Kotteder

MUNICH -- For five years now, women farmers in Bavaria, Germany, have been letting themselves be photographed in wet T-shirts and sexy see-through underwear. Why? For a pin-up calendar co-published by an association of young farmers that aims to make the point that "rural people are modern too."

Why was the fetching Julia sitting in a strawberry patch wearing a skimpy dress? "Well – because it was strawberry season!" says the 19-year-old, almost a little annoyed; it seems pretty logical to her.

How about Anita? Wasn't that sort of a pain being doused repeatedly with half-liters of water so her shirt would retain maximum cling factor? "Sure," says Anita, "especially as I was wearing Wellies and the water was filling them."

You can say what you want about farming. But don't say it lacks little charms. That, in any case, was one of the association's points of departure when they started producing their pin-up calendar. Actually, young farmers in Austria came up with the idea first – and their calendar of lightly-clad ladies, in a first run of 2,000 copies, sold out in three days. And because Bavaria too has its share of fulsome country lasses, the successful calendar has been a joint Austro-German venture since 2006.

"Country people are contemporary"

On Tuesday, the 2012 calendar was launched at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich with the six Bavarian models in attendance. According to Ludwig Raßhofer, chairman of the Young Farmers' Association of Bavaria, the idea was "to portray agricultural pursuits in a beautiful and sensual manner" to counter a still prevalent image of farmers in baggy overalls. Country people today are totally contemporary, Raßhofer insisted.

One might have protested that young city folk don't usually loll around lasciviously on their desks or show up at the office wearing transparent black lingerie and stilettos, but that's neither here nor there. One can certainly make the case that calendars of this type objectify women. But in the end, there's no need to take it too seriously. The pin-up calendar thing, after all, isn't exactly new.

But in Austria things do seem to be a bit more "evolved" as far as pin-ups are concerned. While Bavaria has only a "girls' version of the calendar, the Austrians also have a "men's' edition. "We get around 1,000 people a year who apply to be considered for the calendars, and about half of them are young men," says Christina Spangl of the Austrian Young Farmers' Association.

Raßhofer -- apparently not interested in playing the role model -- says that in Bavaria there aren't enough men interested to be able to produce a male version of the calendar. Clearly, the area's young women aren't so shy: over 200 applied for the chance to be photographed by well-known photographer Andreas Hofer, and six of them were chosen along with six Austrian women. Shoots took place in different settings, including an ostrich farm in Leipheim and a field of soya in Neu-Ulm.

Antonia, the 19-year-old featured in the soya field, says she's very happy with the pictures of her. "If we didn't agree with something, we had a chance to say so. I wouldn't have done topless, for example." In this regard, the Austrians seem to be a little more laid back--in case anybody was wondering.

Read the original story in German

Photo - Bayerische Jungbauernschaft

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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